Castle Town Dandelion
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 12 of
Castle Town Dandelion ?
With twelve episodes total, we've had exactly the right amount of Castle Town Dandelion. From a shaky first episode to a slowly strengthening middle, the show has traded in its moe fluff for character growth and family bonding. You won't be clamoring for more after you watch this ending, not because it's anything short of heartwarming, but because it does a succinct and satisfying job of wrapping the series up.
After eleven months of waiting, the election is finally upon us. How will the citizens decide who to vote for? Mostly, the show tells us, they're voting for their classmates. It really underlines the strangeness of the premise—to vote for your next king while he or she is still a minor. I know they won't take over until after Dad retires, but still. The episode isn't completely even, but offers screentime to each of the Sakurada siblings, as they discuss their preparations for the pre-election speech they plan to give. It's powerful to see how much each sibling has grown. All of them started out as cookie-cutter types and transformed into fully realized characters. I love when Akane chats with the class president (unbeknownst to her, he is also the Akane fan club president). Her braver, more capable self stands obliviously apart from her stuttering, befuddled campaign portrait. Like Akane, Kanade is a new woman now, planning to give her election speech on the strengths of her siblings. Aoi has perhaps changed most of all, summoning courage from herself and her friends to tell Dad what she really wants to do.
I think we all predicted that Aoi planned to drop out of the campaign, but what I didn't prepare for was her big reveal. She let her siblings and all the citizens alike know about her real power, and the sky didn't fall! Well, sort of. A potential catastrophe strikes at the pre-election speeches, and all the siblings have to work together to save the day. This anime is great at showing instead of telling, and the action here is clear and orderly as everyone works together. It provides a direct contrast to the show's first episode, in which all the siblings used their powers to compete against one another with scattered, chaotic results. Not everyone has grown and changed—there's not enough time to devote to the younger set—but you can certainly point to concrete examples of how Aoi, Shu, Kanade, and Akane have changed. Arguably, there's evidence for growth on Misaki and Hikari's parts, too. Best of all, this character growth is expressed most strongly through their relationships with one another. The Sakurada siblings' ability to love and support each other despite their differences is what keeps me watching.
I'm not going to say it here just in case, but there is one clear winner of the election. The show doesn't cop out with something like “everybody wins!” or “Dad was just testing us!” and I'm extremely grateful for that. Once again, this is an example of showing instead of telling, and the near disaster situation gives the citizens just enough information to figure out who among the siblings will make the most reliable leader. We don't need to see a lot of deliberation, it's just made very obvious. Stay until the end to learn not only who wins, but what all the Sakurada siblings do as they move on with their lives. You can leave Castle Town Dandelion behind with a clear head, devoid of further questions. I worried about how this 4-koma manga was going to fill twelve episodes with content, but it did just that—no more and no less.
Castle Town Dandelion is currently streaming on Funimation.
Lauren writes about anime and journalism at Otaku Journalist.
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